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Pangborn to lay off about 100 workers

August 28, 2000

Pangborn to lay off about 100 workers



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


About 100 Pangborn Corp. employees Monday were given 60 days notice of their impending layoffs, a result of company plans to shut down the manufacturing operation at its Hagerstown plant, company Vice President Tom Wojcik said.

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After the layoffs, about 200 employees will remain on the job, he said.

The plant at 580 Pangborn Blvd. northeast of the Hagerstown Fairgrounds manufactures machinery that cleans and hardens metals.

Companies elsewhere in the United States and Canada will manufacture machinery for Pangborn but the products will continue to be designed, marketed, sold and serviced by Pangborn employees, he said.

President Ron Stewart said Aug. 14 that Pangborn was considering closing the manufacturing division and that employees and union representatives had been told of the possibility.

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About 100 employees learned Monday that the possibility had become a certainty and that their last day on the job would be in late October.

"I think it is a sad situation," Dennis Bullock, who has been with the company for 27 years, said as he walked to his car at the end of the workday Monday.

Bullock, Jim Donato and Robert Rinehart said they did not know what they would do for employment after they are furloughed. Donato has been with the company for 13 years and Rinehart has been a Pangborn employee for 37 years.

They had suspected their division would be shut down after the current president was hired about a year ago, they said.

All of the employees to be laid off are union members represented by United Auto Workers Local 842.

Wojcik said nonunion employees could be laid off in the future but does not know when that decision would be made.

Union representatives met Monday with Pangborn officials to discuss the decision, Wojcik said.

Union representatives did not return phone calls.

"This decision is essential to enable Pangborn to prosper in an intensely competitive marketplace," Stewart said in a news release.

Pangborn has been in business for 97 years and the manufacturing plant opened in 1915. The company has turned a profit in two of the last five years, Stewart has said. In recent years Pangborn has lost money on its manufacturing operations, resulting in some layoffs, he said.

The number of employees has dropped from about 350 in 1995 to about 300 today, Stewart said.

The Maryland Job Service will be called in to help the laid off employees find other employment and give them retraining information, Tim Troxell, assistant director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said Monday.

"Hopefully the company can utilize this new manufacturing process - outsourcing - to become competitive again. The hope is that one day they can start manufacturing stuff again here in Hagerstown," Troxell said.

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